Internal review leads to a stronger, more focused Ombudsman for Human Rights and Justice


Members of the PDHJ receive their new position descriptions as part of the handover ceremony announcing the new staffing structure. Photo Felisberta Da Silva/UNDP TL

An internal review of the staffing structure of the Provedor for Human Rights and Justice (PDHJ) has led to changes designed to strengthen the accountability and improve the results of the nation’s leading human rights institution.

Highlights

  • A year-long review engaging all PDHJ staff has resulted in a new staffing structure that includes more detailed job descriptions and stronger clarification on each person’s expected results.
  • Yearly performance evaluations and strengthened internal monitoring mechanisms will support the results new structure.
  • PDHJ’s case clearance rate was 190% through the first half of 2013 (47% in 2010) and 72.2% of human rights complaints were subject to preliminary assessment within the legally mandated 30 day timeframe, up from 25% in 2011.

Based on a year-long review which engaged all members of the PDHJ, the new staffing structure includes more detailed job descriptions and stronger clarification on each person’s expected results. The bottom-up review was led by the PDHJ’s Human Resources Department under the leadership of the Director General.  Every staff member was required to review their performance and contribute to shaping their job descriptions.  The new structure was presented in a formal handover exercise on 25 February, 2014.

“To be able to promote human rights and good governance, the PDHJ needs to ensure staff are specialists in their areas,” said Mr. Aureo Jose Antonio Savio PDHJ Director General. “Staff involvement is fundamental for the success of this initiative, as it can boost confidence and increase motivation among staff. I believe that the new job descriptions represent an important step in this direction.”

To complement and further enhance the new internal structure, PDHJ will also implement a yearly public service performance evaluation as well as strengthen internal monitoring mechanisms. These improvements will help PDHJ to identify both the impact of its work and the challenges it faces in delivering the results detailed in its Strategic Plan for 2011-2020.

PDHJ productivity has increased sharply in the last years. Its case clearance rate has gone from 47% in 2010 to 190% through the first half of 2013. In 2013 72.2% of human rights complaints were subject to preliminary assessment within the legally mandated 30 day timeframe.  This was an increase of more than 25% over 2011. The establishment of key results for each and every single staff member will help ensure the continuity of these positive results.

The ability of the PDHJ to bring about improvements in human rights and entrench good governance in Timor-Leste is dependent on a strong, capable workforce.   Designing position descriptions which identify the specific functions and tasks of each staff member to meet the demands of the National Human Rights Institutions and an Ombudsman represents an important effort to support the specialization of independent institutions within the public service sector.   

UNDP’s Capacity Development of Provedoria for Human Rights and Justice project builds upon the existing human rights knowledge and skills of PDHJ staff in order to further develop and broaden staff member’s knowledge, analytical ability and the ability to apply new knowledge and skills within their roles. The project also aims at holistically supporting the further development of the PDHJ by working with divisions interlinked with the human rights mandate including Public Relations, Human Resources, I.T. and Administration and Finance.